Tag Archives: cables

Fixing the fit: my cable back shell

Cable back shell in Dream in Color Baby (Ruby River)

Cable back shell in Dream in Color Baby (Ruby River)

I’ve been knitting more sweaters and tops than usual lately, but have often found myself a little disappointed with the finished product.  This is most often an issue of fit, so I’m really happy to show off my latest finished top: the Purl Bee’s Cable Back Shell.

I was reluctant to shell out (no pun intended) for the recommended cashmere, but fortunately, I had this lovely Dream in Color Baby from a long frogged pullover.  I like the yarn even better for this top, since the slight varigation in the colour works really well given how basic the front is.  What drew me to this top was the cabled back, that almost looks like a spine and gives a very subtle, almost sexy tension to the back.

The simple but interesting cable back

The simple but interesting cable back

A top like this needs to fit perfectly, so I was really happy to try on the sample at Purl Soho in August.  Like the other Laura’s Loop pattern I knit, this one fits a bit short and boxy.  To add to the confusion, the pattern calls for 2 inches of positive ease (it should be 2 inches bigger than your body), but the photo clearly shows a sweater with negative ease. It’s a perfect illustraion of how even with careful gauge and measuring, fit can be an issue  To achieve the look I wanted, I knit the extra small (about 0.5 inches negative ease) and added 2 repeats (or 5 inches) to the length.

I didn’t pick up and cast off at the armholes (yet).  Doing so will stop the armholes from stretching and rolling, but I’m still considering adding elbow length sleeves, so I’ll hold onto a little scrap, while I wear it a couple of times and consider my options…. What do you think, would it look better with little sleeves?

Advertisements

Hexipuff-date Part 3

My hexipuffs!

My hexipuffs!

This week, I completed my sixtieth hexipuff (still a very long way from a finished bedspread for our guest room).  I love the controlled chaos of the colours, as I continue to add new balls of scrap (like the Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock from my most recent socks, and some baby pink bamboo leftover from a long ago shower gift).  Generally speaking, controlled chaos is my favourite aesthetic; although that may just be a survival strategy for a middle school teacher/mother of a young child.

I’ve started to play with texture in my hexipuffs.  I was inspired by some of the gorgeous hexipuffs on Pinterest and raverly. Creative knitters have used texture, colour and even embellishment to make their individual hexipuffs special.  One of my favourites on raverly even put the recipient’s name on a baby blanket sized beekeeper’s quilt.

Some beautiful textures (from Pinterest)

Cannot believe how gorgeous this hexipuff is (from ravelry)

Glam up Your Hexipuff – Hollyhock is available as a free ravelry download

Adorable owl puff (spotted on Pinterest)

My owl hexipuff and one I with the cable pattern from the Dean Street hat

Some of my own experiements: owl hexipuff and the cable pattern from the Dean Street hat

The first experiments were with cables and gansey. I love this little pink one, which borrows its cable pattern from the Dean Street hat, and my tiny gray owl (shamelessly copied from a creative raveler). Hexipuffs are a great, low commitment place to play with texture that you’d like to practice, or are considering for another pattern.Hexipuff in Dream in Color Smooshy with marriage lines

Hexipuff in Dream in Color Smooshy with marriage lines

For example, this week, I’ve been charting out a pair of socks that I’d like to give my husband for our upcoming anniversary.  I read about marriage lines, which were a special texture in fisherman’s sweaters, made only for married men, by their wives.  I love the idea of reviving them on a pair of anniversary socks for my husband. So, I decided to use a hexipuff as an oppurtunity to play with the texture.  I made a blank hexipuff chart (below) and simply translated the pattern to a new canvas.  What are you doing with your hexipuffs?  Feel free to use the chart – I’d love to see what you come up with.

A blank hexipuff chart. Make of it what you will!

A blank hexipuff chart. Make of it what you will!

My Overby Sweater (or Why I Despise Seams)

_AWN4131My Overby sweater is done, and I sort of like it.  I rarely make sweaters for myself, because I’m almost pathologically picky about fit and I find wool really itchy (I know, it’s a strange confession for a knitter!).  However, when I saw this pattern, and the new cotton tape yarn it was designed for, I was completely seduced.  I love cotton sweaters, and the fit, texture and stretch of this sweater make fit less of an issue.

My Overby sweater, knit in Berroco Karma, in the spring sunshine

My Overby sweater, knit in Berroco Karma, in the spring sunshine

That said, I have mixed feelings about the results.  I still love, love, love the texture and silhouette. The actual knitting was as quick and easy as can be, but the yarn presented a few unique challenges.  Berocco Karma is a new yarn, with only 48 ravelry projects, so getting tips and help online wasn’t easy.  It’s a loosely woven cotton tape, making weaving in ends nearly impossible to do to my satisfaction.  On the advice of my LYS, I ended up attaching balls of yarn by sewing the two ends together with a few stitches in matching thread.  That didn’t solve to problem of the ends, and there are a couple places where they have worked their way to the surface.

I hate, hate, hate seaming, and this sweater is constructed in 4 flat pieces (the absolute worst method of construction if you ask me). This turned out to be the biggest hurdle and source of dissatisfaction with this sweater.  My inexperience with set-in shoulders made me reluctant to start messing with the pattern, and now I really regret it.  I should have knit as much as possible in the round, or even better used Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters to rewrite the pattern as seamless.

I started blogging, in part, to elevate my knitting skills and push myself to try new things, so I was determined to master seaming and finishing.  I scoured youtube, and watched Berroco’s own excellent videos.  It was a little too late; they recommended decreasing for the sleeve cap one or two stitches in for the sleeve cap to give yourself a firmer edge to sew into (thanks, guys, but next time put that in the pattern!).

A work in progress, sew in the sleeves

A work in progress, sew in the sleeves

I waited until my son was asleep and my husband was safely ensconced in the NHL playoffs to attack.  I laid everything out after diligently blocking. However, even with all that care, the seams do not meet my standards.  I hate wearing anything that looks amateurish, and these seams seem to have conspired against me.  The loose stitches make every misstep glaring, and somehow, I sewed one armpit slightly tighter than the other (not really visible, but still).

All that said, I loved this yarn, and the way it feels, I can’t wait to find another really great (seamless) sweater pattern for it. Please, share if you have any ideas!